2 min

Making Waves of Change This World Water Day

As World Water Day 2024 approaches on March 22nd, the urgency of our global water crisis is undeniable. With 2.2 billion people still lacking access to safe drinking water and nearly half of humanity facing severe water scarcity, action is no doubt imperative. In fact, since 1993, World Water Day has served as a vital platform to address water and sanitation issues, stressing the need for safe water access.

This year’s World Water Day theme, ‘Water for Peace,' highlights the crucial link between water management and global peace efforts. In fact, Kiwa as a company sprung out of the post-World War II need for safe drinking water in the Netherlands.

Marco van Brink, International Business Manager of our Water and Gas Business Sector, tells us more about Kiwa's water legacy and the significance of our water-related services.

Kiwa’s Legacy of Water Conservation

“Kiwa's roots trace back to post-World War II in the Netherlands, where the devastation of water systems prompted the creation of our company in 1948,” explains Marco. Initially tasked with assessing the safety of river water for drinking purposes, our company was started as a foundation called Keuringsinstituut voor Waterleiding Artikelen (KIWA), which translates to ‘Certification Institute for Water Supply Articles.’ Our primary focus back then was on testing and certifying materials used in water supply systems to ensure quality and safety.

“Water-related issues are, therefore, strongly ingrained in our organizational DNA. This legacy positions us as leaders in Europe and beyond, particularly concerning products and materials in contact with drinking water,” continues Marco. 'Our legacy closes ties into this year’s World Water Day theme, ‘Water for Peace.’ Water is not just a component of Kiwa; it defines our identity and drives our prominence in addressing global water challenges.'

Our Commitment to Water Services and Environmental Stewardship

Marco tells us about our water-related services at Kiwa and their importance: “Kiwa’s services include supporting stakeholders in accessing clean water and promoting sustainability in product design and production methods. Transparency and trust are paramount to what we do, particularly concerning the quality of drinking water and the materials used in contact with it.”

More generally, we aim to ensure that all Kiwa companies adhere to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards, encompassing various subjects such as water reduction, minimizing environmental footprint, and ensuring employee safety and comfort,” states Marco. “We provide water-saving products and services, conduct water testing in our laboratories focusing on recycling and quality control, and employ other sustainable practices such as solar energy and hybrid vehicles. We remain committed to minimizing our environmental impact across all operations.”

Our Role in the New Drinking Water Directive

Europe’s implementation of the Drinking Water Directive is a fundamental step towards safeguarding water and bolstering water quality and safety across the continent. The Directive will replace individual country regulations. It establishes minimum hygienic standards at the European level, regulating materials and products in contact with drinking water. Independent notified bodies will test and certify properties like color, flavor, chemical migration, and microbiological growth to ensure compliance, harmonize standards, and improve drinking water security.

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We are committed to aiding our customers through this transition, and we are actively engaged in the changes brought about by the Directive, recognizing their significance and taking a leading role for our stakeholders,” informs Marco. “Our efforts ensure global products meet these stringent legal requirements for safe drinking water. Importantly, we are  playing a key role in the new directive, leading a consortium of future notified bodies to ensure assessment consistency. Through various educational avenues like webinars and seminars, we also facilitate a smooth transition for customers ahead of the regulation publication.”

The regulation sets a transition period starting on January 1, 2027, allowing existing certified products to adhere to the old system until December 31, 2032. New products must comply with the new regulations immediately from January 1, 2027, with full transition mandated by January 1, 2033, covering all products in the water chain, from extraction to household usage.

Navigating Water-Related Challenges Together

At Kiwa, we work closely with our customers to ensure transparency and confidence in water-related products and services through independent verification, affirming quality and sustainability standards,” furthers Marco. We're addressing concerns about clean water development and issues with non-drinking water and sewage. Plastic recycling is also an area closely linked to water management as it affects the water we use, and we address this, too, in our services.”

“At Kiwa, we know that water is a global asset, and it is strongly ingrained in our identity,” concludes Marco, “We are dedicated to delivering water-related services that create trust and drive progress.”

For inquiries about our water-related services, please visit our website. Additionally, feel free to read more on our drinking water webpage. General inquiries can be sent to water@kiwa.com.